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The Ruby in the Smoke
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About the Author

PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), which has been named one of the top 100 novels of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. He has also won many distinguished prizes, including the Carnegie Medal for The Golden Compass (and the reader-voted "Carnegie of Carnegies" for the best children's book of the past seventy years); the Whitbread (now Costa) Award for The Amber Spyglass; a Booker Prize long-list nomination (The Amber Spyglass); Parents' Choice Gold Awards (The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass); and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in honor of his body of work. In 2004, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

It has recently been announced that The Book of Dust, the much anticipated new book from Mr. Pullman, also set in the world of His Dark Materials, will be published as a major work in three parts, with the first part to arrive in October 2017. Philip Pullman is the author of many other much-lauded novels. Other volumes related to His Dark Materials: Lyra's Oxford, Once Upon a Time in the North, and The Collectors. For younger readers: I Was a Rat!; Count Karlstein; Two Crafty Criminals; Spring-Heeled Jack, and The Scarecrow and His Servant. For older readers: the Sally Lockhart quartet: The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, and The Tin Princess; The White Mercedes; and The Broken Bridge. Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England. To learn more, please visit philip-pullman.com and hisdarkmaterials.com. Or follow him on Twitter at @PhilipPullman.

Reviews

Gr 7 Up A rip-roaring good adventure story filled with cutthroat villains, dastardly deeds, sleezy opium dens, filthy London slums, and a delightful 16-year-old heroine. Sally, orphaned when her father dies at sea, becomes ensconsed in mystery and treachery when she learns that a legendary ruby is rightfully hers. With the help of two friends, she sidesteps several attempts on her life, helps rescue a young girl from the clutches of a ruthless blackmailer, and finds the hidden fortune that her father had left her. There are twists and turns at every moment, with new characters constantly entering and old ones exiting (not by their own choice). Descriptions are vivid, colorful, and fully realized. Subtle innuendos enhance character development, and the understated humor keeps readers from taking the story too seriously. There are a few lapses in plotting and several contrivances, but these are minor flaws in a story that pulls together to become a rousing tale of murder and adventure in London in 1872. It's a book for sophisticated readers because of the variety of motivations and schemes as well as the shifts in setting within chapters, and one that's not for the timid because of the many murders. Trev Jones, ``School Library Journal''

This comical adventure about a girl who longs to follow in her father's footsteps crackles with Pullman's (The Golden Compass; Clockwork) usual flair. Lila desperately wants to be a firework-maker like her widower father. Although he has raised her amid the dancing sparks, he wants her to have a husband rather than a vocation. With the help of her entrepreneurial friend Chulak, the personal servant to the king's talking white elephant, Lila tricks her father into revealing the secret to his profession, then bravely departs to retrieve the royal sulphur from Razvani the Fire-Fiend at the heart of a volcano. Pullman marries elements of fairy tale with slapstick humor as Lila outwits a vaudevillian band of pirates and scales jagged mountains on her quest. Gallagher's (Blue Willow, reviewed above) softly focused graphite drawings lend magical mystery as Lila fearfully contemplates the dancing fire imps at Mount Merapi and emphasize the absurdity as the elephant, his flanks emblazoned with advertisements, kneels before the Goddess of the Lake in order to save Lila from Razvani. If the tale, first published in Britain in 1995, isn't as polished as Pullman's other works, it's worth the trip just for the climactic fireworks scene in which Lila gets to show her stuff. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) FYI: As of September, Pullman's Sally Lockhart Trilogy is being reissued in paperback: The Ruby in the Smoke; The Shadow in the North; and The Tiger in the Well; as well as The Tin Princess, which features characters from the trilogy. (Knopf, $4.99 paper each ages 12-up ISBN 0-394-89589-4; -82599-3; ISBN 0-679-82671-8; -87615-4) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"A rip-roaring adventure story filled with cutthroat villains, dastardly deeds, sleazy opium dens, filthy London slums, and a delightful heroine...Splendid descriptions, plot twists and turns, and understated humor engage readers in this tale of murder, mayhem, and mystery."--School Library Journal (starred review)
" A rip-roaring adventure story filled with cutthroat villains, dastardly deeds, sleazy opium dens, filthy London slums, and a delightful heroine...Splendid descriptions, plot twists and turns, and understated humor engage readers in this tale of murder, mayhem, and mystery." --School Library Journal (starred review)

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